Last Updated on: September 21, 2022 by Crystal Uys

Young woman wearing warm sweater is resting with a cat

If you’re struggling to develop a bond with a new cat, you’re not alone. As cat lovers, we’ve all been there. Cats have a form of communication that’s very distinct from human communication. These differences can make bonding a challenging experience for both cats and people.

Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to help establish a strong bond with your cat. Finding the right combination can help your cat to trust you and want to be around you. It’ll take some trial and error and a lot of patience, but it’s very possible to form and strengthen your bond with your cat. Here are some things that I have found can help you establish that bond.


Top 10 Ways to Bond With Your Cat:

1. Learn About Cat Behavior

Cat looking at owner
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One of my favorite ways to bond with your cat is to understand general cat behavior. Cats don’t communicate like humans, so it’s essential to learn to pick up on their body language cues to understand how it’s feeling.

For example, a happy and trusting cat will often look relaxed, have half-opened eyes, and have its guard down. In contrast, a fearful cat will have ears that are lying flat against its head and dilated pupils. It’ll also have an arched back and raised tail.

When you learn to accurately read your cat’s behavior, you can make more appropriate decisions about how to interact with it. If it’s looking relaxed, then it’s appropriate to pet your cat. If your cat’s looking tense, you’ll want to figure out what’s making it feel wary.


2. Stick to a Routine

Woman Playing with Cat Outdoors
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Most cats will appreciate a routine, especially if they’re particularly anxious. So, if you develop a general routine, you’ll create a safe and comfortable environment for your cat.

One easy way to create a routine for your cat is to develop a consistent morning routine for yourself. While you don’t have to follow a strict timeline, you can try to do tasks in the same order. Your cat will eventually pick up on the routine and respond accordingly.


3. Give Your Cat Space

Gray Cat Near Gray Vase With Sunflower
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Cats do enjoy the company of their humans, but they can also appreciate alone time. Therefore, it’s helpful to understand its body language to determine if your cat wants to engage in a play session or would rather be by itself.

If a cat has flattened ears and dilated pupils and its tail is twitching or wagging, it’s signaling that it’s feeling agitated. It’s best for you to back off and give this cat plenty of space.


4. Let Your Cat Approach You First

Cat meowing
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It’s understandable to want to engage with a new kitten or cat as soon as you bring it home. However, in my experience, cats will need time to adjust and become comfortable with new environments.

So, along with giving cats space, make sure to also give them time to feel comfortable enough to approach you. Approaching a scared or agitated cat will only make it feel more unsafe. Allowing it to take time to get used to its surroundings can actually speed up the bonding process. Leaving your cat alone will help it to determine that you’re a safe presence in its life.


5. Hand Feed Treats

maine coon cat having treat
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Food alone won’t establish a strong bond between you and your cat. However, it definitely helps to experiment and figure out what types of treats your cat likes best.

Hand feeding treats can help cats bond with you, especially if they’re very food motivated. If you know your cat’s favorite treat, try to give the treat only through hand feeding. This will further reinforce a positive association that your cat has created with you.


6. Find Out Your Cat’s Favorite Toy

Cat playing toy
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Not all cats have the same preferences, so they’ll all have different kinds of toys that they like. Some cats will like wand toys, while others prefer stuffed toys or treat puzzles.

You can figure out what toys your cat likes best by observing which ones it plays with most frequently and actively. Once you find out which toys are its favorites, you can be the one to present them to your cat every time it wants to play.


7. Talk to Your Cat

Woman playing and talking with her cat
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Talking to your cat is a great way to bond with distance. While cats may not literally understand what you’re saying, they can understand and become affected by your tone. So, if you have a cat that’s afraid and watchful, you can try talking to it in a soft and calm voice.

Acting and talking with calmness and steadiness can help your cat better anticipate your moves and view you as a safe and nonthreatening person.


8. Pet Your Cat

Petting a ginger cat outside
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If you’ve already established some sort of bond with your cat, you can move on to petting it. I have noticed that cats prefer to be petted along the back. They’ll also like scratches around the ears and below the chin.

Cats have very sensitive paws and whiskers, so it’s best to avoid touching these areas. Some cats also don’t like their tails being touched.

Most cats will make it obvious what types of pets they enjoy. So, just make sure to pay attention, and you’ll soon pick up on your cat’s favorite petting spots.


9. Brush Your Cat

woman brushing the Persian cat
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Cats spend a good amount of time grooming themselves, and most will appreciate a helping hand. They tend to like being brushed, so brushing their coat can help you bond with your cat while keeping it clean.

Just make sure to be slow and gentle when you brush your cat. Start with just brushing its back. As your cat becomes more used to getting brushed, you can move to brushing more sensitive areas, such as the underside.

After you’ve brushed your cat, you can give it a treat to make grooming an even more positive experience.


10. Know Your Cat’s Personality

old man holding cat
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

While cats will consistently display certain behaviors, it’s important to remember that they all have unique personalities and preferences. So, one of the best ways to bond with your cat is to understand how it tries to bond with you.

Some cats will enjoy being petted and following their humans everywhere, while independent cats may prefer being in the same room as you but not interacting as much. Other cats may be very vocal and want to have conversations with you.

Once you get to know your cat, you’ll be able to pick up on both the obvious and subtle ways it tries to bond with you.


Conclusion

At the end of the day, I have found that much of bonding with your cat means understanding cat behavior and getting to know your cat’s individual personality. Just like how humans grow closer together as they understand each other better, you’ll also develop a special bond with your cat as you grow to understand it.

So, take some time to get to know your cat, and if you’re having a hard time, you can always enlist the help of a cat behaviorist. It may take some time to learn to bond with your cat, but trust me — it’ll definitely be worth all the effort!


Featured Image Credit: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock

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